What are the top 5 mythologies?

Almost every culture in the world has its own mythology. From China to Mexico, Scandinavia to South America, civilisations made up stories to explain their world, the changing seasons and the challenges of life and death. These myths include wondrous beasts such as dragons, unicorns and chimeras, some of which have been brought to life in family theatre shows such as Dragons and Mythical Beasts Live. They also told of gods, goddesses and heroes, and to this day they fascinate millions across the globe. But which are the top five mythologies? Let’s take a look. 


Mesopotamian mythology

The oldest known piece of literature in the world is the Epic of Gilgamesh, a part of Mesopotamian mythology that tells of the hero-king Gilgamesh as he encounters creatures, gods and more on an epic journey. It was created around 2100 BCE in the area that is now Iraq and Syria, and is thought to have influenced the mythologies of subsequent civilisations. The stories include creation myths and tales that reveal the values of Mesopotamian society, such as dutiful worship of the gods.


Greek mythology

Perhaps one of the most popular mythologies to have captured the Western imagination, Greek mythology is full of drama. From great battles among the gods and heroic deeds to quests to the underworld and romances between gods and mortals, it’s packed with exciting tales. The Iliad is one of the most famous stories, written down from oral traditions in around the 8th century BCE, and telling of the legendary war between the Greeks and the Trojans following the abduction of Helen of Sparta by Prince Paris of Troy.  


Chinese mythology

Chinese mythology is captivating not only for the stories about its gods and goddesses, who are often associated with natural phenomena, but also for its mythical creatures, such as dragons and phoenixes. Much of today’s Chinese culture is rooted in its mythology, including festivals, rituals, and the 12-year cycle with each year named for an animal. One of the most well-known tales is that of Sun Wukong, the monkey king who causes trouble for the Jade Emperor but later redeems himself by becoming the faithful companion of a journeying monk.


Norse mythology

Originating in Scandinavia, Norse mythology has a rich and complex family of gods and goddesses, who were thought to influence almost every aspect of daily life. From agriculture to war, the gods were to be appeased with prayers, sacrifices and rituals. The myths tell of the earth’s creation, legendary battles, and the fate of humans at the end of the world, known as Ragnarok.


Hindu mythology

Hinduism is thought to be the world’s oldest surviving religion, and has a colourful mythology with a vast number of gods and goddesses, each of whom represents a particular aspect of the divine. There are also heroes, magical creatures and moral lessons included in the stories, which date back as far as 1500 BCE. Among the most narrated stories of the mythology is the Ramayana, which tells of a demon king who falls in love with a woman named Sita. Her husband, Rama, and his brother Lakshman, go to fight the king, killing him and rescuing Sita.


If you’re inspired by mythical creatures and are looking for a magical play to enjoy with your family, don’t miss Dragons and Mythical Beasts Live. Book your family theatre tickets today.


Image Credit: Robert Day featuring the 2021 touring cast